Monday, April 23, 2012

Indonesia, greens move to stop eco disaster

TimesLive (South Africa): The Indonesian government and environmentalists have moved to halt the destruction of a peatland forest after activists warned that the endangered Sumatran orangutans in the area have almost been driven to extinction.

A coalition of local and international conservation groups warned last month that orangutans in the Tripa forest on Sumatra island could disappear by the end this year unless action was taken to stop land clearing using fire by plantation companies.

“Palm oil companies have been burning peatlands in violation of Indonesian laws,” said Ian Singleton, director for the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. “The situation is urgent and requires action.” The Coalition to Save Tripa, which includes the local group Walhi and Greenpeace, said satellite images from December 26 showed less than 13,000 hectares of the area’s 60,000 hectares of forest remained and at least 40 hotspots indicating fires were detected in May.

...The Ministry of Environment said it was investigating the allegations that palm oil companies operating in the area had broken laws....

The last batch of sawn wood from the peat forest in Indragiri Hulu, Riau Province, Indonesia. Deforestation for oil palm plantation. Shot by Aidenvironment, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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